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Believe the hype: Fantasy's 30 most popular picks

Calvin and plenty of others are on the hunt for 2015's Fantasy Pig - ${keywords}
Calvin and plenty of others are on the hunt for 2015's Fantasy Pig

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SEVERAL weeks have passed since that exciting day in February when NAB AFL Fantasy opened for 2015.

From that moment, thousands of Fantasy coaches have been shuffling their squads on a daily basis.

So, we have decided to build a team, based around the most selected players to date.

Create and fill your NAB AFL Fantasy Classic league by March 2 to win a free AFL Live pass

Doing this was not an easy task. Small adjustments had to be made to the top 30 most popular selections to ensure this team fitted within the $10 million salary cap.

To make matters worse, Matthew Kreuzer [RUC, $244,000] who was the second most selected player, has suffered an injury set-back. He is in serious doubt for round one and has many coaches making adjustments.

Not surprisingly, Gary Ablett [MID, $675,000] is currently the most selected player. After injuring his shoulder in 2014, Ablett is fit and firing and is $88,000 cheaper than Tom Rockliff [MID, $763,000].

Fantasy coaches are certainly taking full advantage of the dual-position players in the forward line this year. 

They are willing to pay top dollar, snapping up Dustin Martin [FWD/MID, $553,000] and Brendon Goddard [FWD/MID, $550,000] who sit comfortably in the top 10 most selected players.

After securing Ablett, Fantasy coaches have been chasing value and locking in under-priced players. In fact, six of the top seven most selected players fall into this category with Daniel Rich [MID, $268,000], Dane Swan [FWD/MID, $531,000] and Mitch Clark [FWD, $156,000] proving to be the most popular.

After scrolling down in the effort to find a premium midfielder to support Ablett, it’s Scott Pendlebury [$614,000, MID] who has been getting the nod, but amazingly he sits way down as the 19th most selected player.

It appears that many Fantasy coaches are squeezing every penny to ensure they are picking the best players they can. To do this, they have been doing their research and selecting some bargain basement rookies. So, who are these names without a face?

Although he is currently rookie listed, expect Aaron Vandenberg [$120,000, MID] to be promoted sooner rather than later. Melbourne took him at pick No.2 in the rookie draft after dominating in the NEAFL over the last two seasons. During this time, Vandenberg averaged 30 disposals a game including 56 touches in one match last year. At the age of 23, he’s ready to take this opportunity with both hands.

The 30th most selected player by Fantasy coaches to date is Matthew Dick [$120,000, DEF]. Dick is a fast rebounding defender and has been picked up by Carlton from the Swans. He is 20 years of age and although he won’t set the Fantasy world on fire, he’s a cheap bench option if he is named for round one.

With the departure of Levi Greenwood, the door has opened for Trent Dumont [$120,000, MID]. Dumont played in the VFL last year with North Ballarat and averaged 25 disposals a game. He was recruited in 2013 with North Melbourne’s 30th pick and is certainly one to watch through the NAB Challenge.

Follow me, @CalvinDT and @AFLFantasy for more Fantasy updates over the following weeks heading into the NAB Challenge and the AFL season. 

THE TRADERS' FANTASY HYPE TEAM (with $52,000 left over)